Friday, October 20, 2017

2017-2018 Season Preview: Eight is Enough

In the 2007-2008 season, twelve seniors took to the ice. It was one of the largest senior classes in memory.

Fast forward ten years, and the 2017-2018 campaign will be close to that.

This year, 8 seniors will be playing for the Golden Eagles.

The most golden of the Golden Eagles are an accomplished bunch who are salivating for a trip to the SUNYAC Championship.

These playoff-tested men have tried.

Last year, they lost to Geneseo in the first round.

As sophomores, they fell to Oswego in round one.

As freshmen, they got past Geneseo to advance to the second round, only to lose to Plattsburgh.

With all the experience under their belt and some incredibly gifted underclassmen to support them, their last hurrah could be their best.

Let’s look take a look at some of those seniors and their supporting cast:


Brockport’s offensive output placed them at 29th of 78 in Division III thanks to an average of 3.31 goals per game. A major boost to those numbers came from an all-world power play unit. That 7th ranked unit was successful 25% of the time!

There’s some serious firepower on the team.

Senior Captain Aidan Verbeke had a great 10-13-23 line and led the team in penalty minutes with 42, which shows the hard, physical edge that he brings to the ice. A 30-point season could be in the works for him.

Zac Sikich's speed could lead to a dozen goals this year

Fellow seniors Dylan Shapiro & Zac Sikich are two peas in a pod. How similar are these men? After 3 seasons together both have averaged exactly .53 points per game! Shapiro had 9 goals last season, while Sikich had 10. Both had 2 game winning goals, both had an empty netter. Both could close out their careers with 12 goal seasons.

Look for a rebound season from Ryan Kangas. As a freshman he had a 21 point season. Then, as a sophomore, he netted 12 goals. Last year, he played in just 11 games and had 4 points. Expect the senior to go back to the output of earlier in his NCAA career.

Those oldsters are supported by guys like Tim Kielich and Connor Hutchins. 

After a monster freshman campaign (12-19-31), Kielich did not suffer a sophomore slump. While his goal total dropped to 3, he was still a playmaker, getting 23 helpers last season and ranking among the national leaders in that category. Two of his goals came in the decisive last weekend of play when they were needed most. He was such a threat to make things happen that SUNYAC coaches voted him into Third Team All-SUNYAC at the close of the season. He could surpass 30 points again.

Sophomore Hutchins had a rookie season for the ages. At the close of the regular season, Hutchins was third in the nation in power play goals with 8 (the leader had 10) among his total 12 goals that were accompanied by 15 assists. He ended up 15th in the country for points-per-game by a freshman last season. His 12 goals were the most for a rookie Golden Eagle in 20 years. We could be witnessing a special talent capable of getting 18 to 20 goals a season.

Defensemen and goaltenders

Brockport’s defense came in at 66th in the nation allowing 3.85 goals per game but it improved dramatically in the second half when the team had its back to the wall in the playoff race.

Expect big things from senior Brian Hurlimann. He had plus/minus of +3. He also surprised with some firepower, sporting a 4-5-9 line besting his career totals of 2-1-3. He’s a physical player who makes superstar forwards regret entering his territory. Don’t be surprised if he gets All-SUNYAC looks this year and picks up 15 points.

Junior blueliner Bryan Carville is an excellent defensive player. He had 10 points last year, which are solid for a defenseman’s defenseman. He led the team in plus/minus with a +5 and he’s looking like someone who could entertain All-SUNYAC honors this year and next. He can really hang with the deep lines we’ve seen out of Oswego and Geneseo.

Connor Bass is graceful blueliner with excellent vision

Look for big things from Connor Bass. The junior from Alberta was picked for the SUNYAC’s all-rookie team as a freshman and he did not disappoint as a sophomore, blocking shots, keeping his penalty minutes low and being a defenseman’s defenseman.

They are blessed to have good goaltending behind them in sophomore Matt Schneider. He’s entered into folk hero status in the hockey program. Like a modern day Paul Revere or Johnny Appleseed, he’ll always be known as “the guy who shutout the Cardinals at Plattsburgh.” That wasn’t the only highlight of a nice rookie campaign that saw him get a .903 save percentage and a 3.02 goals against average while also securing the pressure cooker “must-wins” that closed out the regular season. 

Matt Schneider shutdown Plattsburgh last year. He'll do it again
Beyond all of the established stars, Brockport has a huge freshman class of 8 players.

There’s a common theme there.

Eight freshman.

Eight seniors.

There was a TV show in the 1970s called “Eight is Enough.”

Eight will be enough.

We have more than enough experience and more than enough young talent to make waves in the SUNYAC.

I will even go out on a limb and say these gentlemen will make it to the SUNYAC championship game this season.

Eight is enough. You can count on it.